Thursday, January 29, 2009

late hummer

The 2008 Christmas Bird Count (CBC) for Knox County was held Saturday, January 3. The annual census is made within a 15-mile diameter circle centered on the intersection of Kingston Pike and Ebenezer Road.

Every year, Patty Ford and I count the same small wooded neighborhood off Alcoa Highway east of the river. This time we hit the jackpot, although we had been alerted beforehand. The CBC complier Dean Edwards e-mailed that a ruby-throated hummingbird was still visiting a feeder at the home of Ruth and Tom Clark. The Clarks had been making sure the feeder had fresh sugar water every day. They named the small bird, "Wee Hattie the Hardy Hummer."

"News-Sentinel" columnist Marcia Davis had already seen it and local bird-bander Mark Armstrong had also caught it only to learn that the young female had already been banded.

Patty and I went to the Clark's home early the day of the count and within 20 minutes the tiny bird came to the feeder. As it turned out, it was only the second time in the 51-year history of the Knox County CBC that a ruby-throat was found in our area late enough to make the count.

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